Yoke Skirt


How to say it: yohk  skurt 

Traditional Features: 

Yoke Skirt

  • separate yoke piece that creates a form-fitting silhouette over the waist and hips
  • yoke can be straight, curved or any other shape
  • bottom part of skirt is often a fuller shape, with gathers, pleats or gores – but not always
  • yoke can be on the front, back or both


…of the style: The yoke is a separate pattern piece used in skirt construction to create a garment with a top half that fits snuggly over the waist and hips. The bottom half of the skirt is attached to the yoke and is usually of a fuller style, involving gathers, pleats or gores. This construction technique creates a full, fluid skirt whilst maintaining a snug, smooth silhouette over the waist and hips and doesn’t add any extra width to the area.

Yokes were first used in skirts in 1898 and have continued to be used in women’s wear since then. While the yoke does have a practical use, designers often take advantage of the extra pattern piece and use the yoke to create interest in the garment as well as a great fit. Over the years yokes have been straight, pointed, curved, scalloped, and asymmetric; they have finished at the top of the hips, the bottom of the hips or somewhere in-between – some yokes have even extended all the way down the front or back of a skirt.

In the 21st century, the yoke skirt is a marketplace staple and designers are constantly reinventing the style by playing with lines, textures and shapes to keep the look modern and relevant.

…of the name:  The term yoke comes from a piece of wood that fits over the heads of two animals and is used to attach them to a cart or wagon to pull. The shape of a yoke pattern piece is similar to the shape of the wooden animal yoke, hence the name.

For more info on Yoke Skirts try Wikipedia or check out the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

21st Century Yoke Skirts

From a chic, fitted pencil skirt, to a fantastically fun mini, the yoke skirt comes in many guises, but the use of the yoke pattern piece means that it will always be a good fit and will never, ever be boring.

French Connection Ostwald Helgason

French Connection, Ostwald Helgason

Free People Anne Klein

Free People, Anne Klein


One thought on “Yoke Skirt

  1. A great source of info.. Working on a costume for school project, 5 periods, 100 centuries apart into one garment. Website listed styles date etc. Thk U!

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